Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

If you can't boot your computer, that's a problem that may only be resolved by reinstalling the operating system.

My Asus program disappeared and I cannot reinstall it. The Asus technicians do not know what to do about it except for reinstalling Asus OS and Win 7. Of course, I will lose all my files. Any suggestions?

In this excerpt from Answercast #53, I look at a failing machine that needs the operating system reinstalled... retrieving the data is the problem.

Reinstall operating system

I'm not really sure what you mean by your "Asus program" disappeared. If you mean that you can't boot your Asus machine, then that's a problem and it would probably only be resolved by reinstalling the operating system.

The problem is if you're about to lose data when that happens, that tells me that you have not been backing up.

This is one of the reasons I so frequently and consistently almost harp on people about backing up and backing up regularly. Because if that data is in only one place (i.e. it's only on this Asus machine), then you may encounter a scenario where the only way to fix a problem is to erase everything on that machine. Now, a backup would solve that, right?

Had you had a backup prior to these problems happening, you would have a safe copy of your data somewhere else that you could restore after you resolve the problem on your Asus machine.

Retrieve your data

So, what I'm going to suggest you look into is grabbing something like a live CD. Ubuntu Linux comes distributed on a Live CD.

What that means is: it's a CD you can insert into your machine (assuming it has a CD drive) and you can boot from it. That running operating system will then allow you to examine the contents of your hard disk and copy off the data that you care about, the data that you want to preserve.

Ultimately, I honestly do believe that the Asus representatives are correct. Whatever is happening to your machine (and like I said, it's a little unclear exactly what is failing), but whatever is happening on your machine, if it's leading them to suggest that you should probably reformat and reinstall, then I'm going to agree: you probably need to reformat and reinstall.

Recover data from the disk

The best way to recover your data again is a live CD. Boot from that, grab the data off of there, copy it to some other device so that you have the data before you reformat the hard disk.

Replacement hard drive

I suppose another alternative (if the data is important enough to you) is to actually get yourself a new hard drive at this time:

  • Replace the hard drive in your Asus with this new one;

  • Install everything to this new hard drive;

  • Then place your old hard drive (which has the data that you're trying to preserve) into something like an external USB enclosure.

  • Now, you can now attach that external USB drive to any PC you have and presumably, you'll then be able to copy off the data that you care about from it.

Above all, after this is all resolved... after you've got a working machine, after you've recovered your data, please start backing up! A backup would have saved you an immense amount of trouble had you been doing so from the beginning.

Article C5813 - September 15, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

September 18, 2012 9:24 AM

I had a bad system crash and couldn't boot. I had to reinstall Win 7 from the backup partition. I had been backing up with Windows Backup to a different hard drive, but Backup wouldn't load any of the images.

I tried several recovery programs. The only one that worked was MiniTool Power Data Recovery. I now have over 1000 files labelled file1, file2, etc., but at least I have my data back.

From now on, it's Macrium, with a new 4Tb disk to back up to.

Jude G.
September 18, 2012 5:16 PM

I recently had a computer that stopped booting. I tried everything I could think of but nothing worked. A friend suggested reformatting. To make a long story short I opened the computer and unpluged everything and repluged it. Computer working great again. This doesn't always work but is worth a try sometimes before loosing everything.

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